We, as human beings, tend to live our lives without putting a second thought into how we move. Everything is very automatic and we don’t stop to look at our positioning as we go about daily activities. 8% of the population suffers from chronic or severe back pain. What if I told you just paying attention to your posture could help prevent you from falling into this statistic? There are simple guidelines you can follow when it comes to sitting, sleeping, and standing posture that will not only help relieve symptoms you may be experiencing already, but also prevent symptoms from worsening or new onset of pain.
Sitting posture can be one of the greatest factors in how our spine feels overall. Many of us love to go home after work, plop down on the couch with our feet up, and sink into a comfortable, relaxed position for a few hours. Have you ever noted the tension in your neck, low back, and legs once you stand up from such a position? It’s uncomfortable! That’s because we have had undue stress on the spine for a prolonged period, which causes muscles to tighten and pain to occur.
When sitting in any type of chair or couch, you want to make sure your feet are planted on the floor. This is going to provide the support your lumbar spine needs to maintain proper alignment. You also want to be more upright than slouched. One way to aid in this position is to put a small towel roll at your low back. We tell all of our patients to draw a line from your belly button around to the back and place the roll there. This will act as a small lever and automatically get that spine a little straighter. This small change has the ability to take hundreds of pounds of pressure off of the spine and will, in the long run, relieve symptoms.
Proper sleeping positions vary for everyone. We don’t all sleep the same and not everyone can use the same number or height of pillows as the next person. Here are a couple key pointers to get you started with sleeping posture:
Avoid your stomach. There are some of us out there who simply prefer to sleep on the belly. What this has the potential to do is strain the muscles in the neck, promote poor alignment at the cervical spine, and create tension down into the mid back as well as up into the jaw. It is better to avoid this position altogether if possible.
Find the proper pillow for you. A great number of us are sleeping with pillows that do not fit our heads well. This can be cause for a lot of discomfort in the shoulder and neck region. Find one that allows for a neutral cervical spine. You want to avoid placing anything under the pillow, such as hands, arms, or shoulders. Place it only behind the head and allow it to rest in the spaces between the neck and shoulder.
Avoid the fetal position. This is one of the most common, and most comfortable, positions we can get into in order to sleep, but it has the potential to be detrimental to our spine health. Remaining in a flexed position like that for prolonged hours can be painful to reverse once we wake up and try to extend our backs to stretch. This position can also place our shoulders in a rounded posture. In turn, the muscles on the front side of the chest, such as the pecs, will shorten and become tight, pulling us even more forward. The muscles on the backside, such as the lats and rhomboids, are stretched and lax all night, which can cause weakness over time. Try hugging a pillow to keep your shoulders neutral and avoid a rounded spine.
Standing posture is hard for many of us to think about during our day! We are always on the move and don’t care to stop and focus our attention on our body position. If you take a look around the grocery store, you will find that many people will hunch over the shopping cart, lean onto the handle bar, and stroll through the aisles. This is the same position we love to sleep in! It creates a rounded spine, forward shoulders and head and can cause excess tension on the vertebrae and surrounding muscles. Any time you step out of the car, stop and take a second to reset your body. Stand tall! Keep the shoulders and head back and walk like you mean it! You’ll come to find a simple, upright position can make a world of difference!
Would You Like To See A Physical Therapist For Free?
We know that sometimes people want more than just a few tips. That’s why we offer expert advice about the worry and frustration of life-changing aches and pains through a FREE conversation with one of our Physical Therapists.
Here are a few things you will experience in one of our free Discovery Visits
A Doctor of Physical Therapy will perform a thorough history and examination of your injuries in order to see if Ried Physical Therapy would benefit you.
You will work 1-on-1 with a physical therapist for your entire visit.
An assessment of your home, sport, or work environment in order to locate the causes of your pains.
Our Discovery Visits are great for anyone that may be “unsure” if physical therapy is right for them, and they give you the opportunity to ask questions and see for yourself if we can help you.
If you would like to speak with one of our physical therapists about what we can do for you, please contact our office at (817) 380-8077 and ask for a Discovery Visit appointment.
We’re Here To Help…
If you’re in pain and would like to talk to us about getting some help, some specialist advice, or if you are looking for a diagnosis, remember we are always here to help you…. and we’re offering you the chance to have your first session with a physical therapist for FREE (with a discovery visit).
If you would like to book a discovery visit, please contact our office at (817) 380-8077 or select the “Get Started” menu option at the top of this webpage.